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Iran's Team Melli kicks off World Cup campaign with 1-0 win over Morocco

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Morocco's Aziz Bouhaddouz scores an own goal past Munir Mohamedi for Iran's first goal during the 2018 World Cup Group B match against Morocco at Saint Petersburg Stadium, Saint Petersburg, Russia, on June 15, 2018.

The Iran men's national football team, domestically known as Team Melli, has started its campaign at the 2018 Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) World Cup in Russia with a remarkable victory over Morocco.

Iranian players were gifted a 1-0 win over Atlas Lions in Saint Petersburg Stadium, when Moroccan striker Aziz Bouhaddouz thumped a powerful header into his own net five minutes into injury time on Friday evening.

The goal came after Bouhaddouz intervened to clear a cross from Iranian captain Ehsan Hajisafi, but only directed it past Morocco’s custodian.

Team Melli defended resolutely throughout the game, proving it was unreachable as North Africans sought to find a way in order to bury the ball in the back of the net.

Morocco fashioned a handful of chances in the period but could not score.

At last, Iranian players successfully imposed themselves in the closing moments of the game, forcing their Moroccan opponents into making the tragic mistake.

Morocco's Aziz Bouhaddouz looks dejected after scoring an own goal for Iran's first goal as Iran's Mehdi Taremi and Majid Hosseini celebrate during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Group B match between Morocco and Iran at Saint Petersburg Stadium, Saint Petersburg, Russia, on June 15, 2018. (Photo by Reuters)

Also on Friday, Portugal will face Spain in a Group B encounter at Fisht Olympic Stadium of Sochi.

During the official 2018 FIFA World Cup draw ceremony at Kremlin State Palace in the Russian capital city of Moscow on December 1 last year, the host nation, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Uruguay were put in Group A in the preliminary round of the tournament.

The Iran men's national football team, nicknamed Team Melli, has joined Portugal’s A Selecção, Spain’s La Furia Roja and Atlas Lions of Morocco.

France is drawn in Group C, and is pitted against Australia, Peru and Denmark.

Argentina, Iceland, Croatia and Nigeria are drawn in Group D.

Group E consists of Brazil, Switzerland, Costa Rica and Serbia.

While the 2014 FIFA World Cup champion Germany, Mexico, Sweden and South Korea shape Group F, Belgium, Panama, Tunisia and England are in Group G.

Group H has Poland, Senegal, Colombia and Japan.

The 2018 FIFA World Cup will take place from June 14 to July 15. Russia will open the event against Saudi Arabia in a Group A fixture at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium.

A total of 64 matches will be played in 12 venues located in 11 cities.

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